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The Importance of Splurging to Avoid Frugal Fatigue – 15 Low-Cost Splurges

By Heather Levin

Splurging on FlowersIn 2007 and 2008, I went on a major money-saving crusade. I was committed to saving up enough to pay off my house. And I wasn’t going to let any temptation stand in my way.

For months, my husband and I pinched every penny that came our way. We hardly ever went out to eat, we didn’t go to the movies, we rarely went out with friends and we didn’t take any vacations. Sounds like fun, right?

Yeah, it stank. Then, that summer, our will broke. All of a sudden, we bought furniture, took a vacation, and made a lot of other purchases that weren’t in our budget at all. A good chunk of the money we’d saved up was frittered away in a matter of months.

What happened?

It’s called “frugal fatigue,” and we were suffering from it. We’d gone so long without having any fun, without splurging on anything for ourselves, that our goal to save money to pay off our home didn’t seem important anymore. We felt cold and miserly saving every cent. We’d swung our frugality pendulum so far to one side that the string broke, and we swung completely to the other side, spending our money like it was a race to the bottom of our bank account.

This, I learned, is why it’s so important to splurge on yourself even when you’re saving money and living on a budget. If you don’t, all your hard work might go up in flames. Or sales receipts.

15 Small Splurges

Saving money is like running a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. And splurging on yourself is like making tiny pit stops during the race to rest and recharge. It’s important to understand, however, that “splurging” doesn’t have to mean “expensive.” For me, the best splurges are little, decadent treats.

So how can you treat yourself on a budget? It really depends on what you love, but here are 15 satisfying splurges that won’t break the bank:

  1. Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers.
  2. Pick up a delicious pie from your local bakery.
  3. Use Groupon or one of the other group buying daily deals sites to find great offers for spa treatments and restaurants you can use on yourself.
  4. Linger for an hour over a latte at a coffee shop. Or buy all of the ingredients yourself and make a few coffee drink recipes at home.
  5. Buy some high-quality chocolate.
  6. Order dessert.
  7. Crack open a bottle of wine.
  8. Sign up for reward programs like Swagbucks, then use your rewards as a treat.
  9. Buy some fancy olives and cheese (this is my favorite splurge!).
  10. Go out to lunch with a friend. For once, try not to focus too much on saving money while eating out.
  11. Get a new book, or swap for a new book with free online paperback book swapping sites like Paperback Swap.
  12. Splurge on some really fancy tea.
  13. Get a pedicure or massage.
  14. Guys, get an open-razor shave at your local barber shop.
  15. Buy yourself a Moleskine notebook for journaling. This is typically a great unique gift idea for men, but nothing wrong with splurging on yourself too.

Final Word

What you splurge on is going to be as unique as you are. Take some time to figure out what really brings you joy. What evokes in you those small, blissful surges of happiness? Those are the kind of splurges I’m talking about.

I’d love to hear back from all of you. What do you splurge on? Why does it mean so much to you?

(photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography)

Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a freelance writer based in Detroit, MI. She's passionately committed to living green, saving money, and helping others do the same in their life.

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  • http://firstgenamerican.com First Gen American

    I’m a very social person, so I guess my favorite splurges would be hosting house parties. My friend does a monthly beer tasting and it is held at a different person’s house every month. It’s frugal, fun, and social.

    I guess the other thing I like to do is fix up stuff. Remodeling can really break the budget, but painting a room can be done really inexpensively and have a wonderful impact. My favorite is looking at the “mistake paint” for $5/gallon at your local home improvement store. Sometimes you can score some really nice colors if you keep your eye out.

  • Kevin Vesga

    Just make sure your splurges don’t conflict with any other goals you have. For example #2 and #6 are probably bad for people trying to lose weight.

  • not given

    Diet fatigue is the #2 reason people crash off their diets. #1 is being hungry all the time for very little results.

  • Sandy

    I used to shop all the time and had (still paying off) some credit card debt. I read some books and never got help until I read 101 WAYS TO STOP SHOPPING AND START SAVING on amazon. My husband bought it for me and I already saved $275 toward our goal-a trip to Paris in 2013!!!!! I now think twice before I go in a store and I go with a list. If I see something and dmy heart starts racing I leave and think about it for a few days at least. If we need it, I get it, if not, I decide is it worth taking money away from m y paris trip?? Nope!

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